Ban on sewage dumping along California coast to get federal teeth

Cruise ships and large commercial ships will be banned from dumping any kind of sewage — even highly filtered wastewater — along California’s coast out to three miles from shore, under new rules from the Obama administration.

The rules, which are scheduled to be announced Wednesday at a news conference in San Francisco, give California among the strictest laws in the nation limiting pollution from large ships.

“This is going to cover the entire California coastline,” said state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. “Oceangoing vessels should not consider our coastline a place for dumping sewage.”

In 2005, Simitian wrote a bill that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed banning sewage discharges in state waters from cruise ships and commercial ships larger than 300 gross tons.

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Scientists to create the most detailed map of California coastline ever assembled

Posted: 07/18/2010 04:01:48 AM PDT

Updated: 07/18/2010 04:23:40 AM PDT
Their tools are laser beams, airplanes and computer software — instead of compasses, wooden ships and parchment.

But more than 400 years after explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Sebastian Vizcaino made some of the first maps of California’s spectacular coastline, state and federal scientists are embarking on a new project to construct the most detailed map of the California coast ever assembled.

The $3.3 million effort will begin with researchers in an airplane flying back and forth along the coast shooting thousands of laser pulses per second at the rocks, beaches and cliffs along the 1,200-mile shoreline from Mexico to Oregon, generating ultra-detailed 3-D images of the contours of the land in huge computer files.

“We need a better sense of what’s out there. We need a modern map. And with a modern map we’ll have the knowledge to make better decisions,” said Doug George, a project manager with the Ocean Protection Council, a state agency in Oakland that approved $2.75 million toward the project last month.

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